Second Marriages: Who Pays for What

The rules for a first wedding are far more clear-cut than they are for a second marriage. Fortunately these days, marriage advice for the second go-around isn't as difficult to come by as it used to be.

In a first wedding, parents are symbolically giving their children away to adulthood; paying for the wedding serves as the final send off. Most second marriages occur when both parties are more established and away from their parents. For a first wedding, the bride's family traditionally pays for the bulk of the wedding, while the groom's side covers things like the rehearsal dinner and outfitting the men in the wedding party. If the couple's families have paid for the first wedding, it is not usually reasonable to expect either side's parents to pick up the tab again.

However, it is a personal decision to be made between the bride and groom and their parents. Depending on the type of wedding you had the first time, parents may feel justified in financially lending a hand. If the first wedding was a very small affair, an elopement or if the couple is still quite young, the parents of the bride and groom might feel more inclined to foot the bill. Generally though, most marriage advice experts will suggest that the cost of a second wedding should be split equally between the bride and groom themselves. Although it is not acceptable to ask for a financial contribution, it is perfectly all right to graciously accept if family members or friends would like to contribute toward your big day.

If it is a second marriage for only either the bride or groom, then they should carefully discuss the size of wedding they want and what they are willing to pay for. It is acceptable for the family of whomever is going through their first wedding to pay for their traditional financial responsibilities. The other half of the costs, however, should be covered by the couple.

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